Historical Christian South Australian Trivia! Lay Preachers

South Australia seems to know how to run a festival – I understand now why it is called ‘The Festival State’! This month is History Festival.

Did you know that many of the directors of the South Australia Company were lay preachers? The South Australia Company was an organization formed in 1835 to develop a new settlement in SA (it only ended formal business in 1949). The founding shareholders were Robert Gouger, George Fife Angas, Thomas Smith and Henry Kingscote, who were soon accompanied by some 300 additional shareholders. Among these were John Rundle, Charles Hindley, Raikes Currie, John Hindmarsh, John Pirie , Charles Mann, George Gawler and Henry Waymouth, whose names now adorn Adelaide’s city streets or monuments.

Robert Gouger was a devout evangelical. He wrote A Sketch for a Proposal for Colonizing Australia and organized the first public meeting for free settlement in South Australia.

George Fife Angas (who became known as the ‘father of South Australia’s religious liberties’) distributes over a million copies of the scriptures as well as millions of tracts and devotional books.

Charles Mann became Advocate General. He believed that the Bible was as necessary to the new settler as the axe was to clear the land.

Captain John Hindmarsh became governor of South Australia and challenged settlers to build a new civilization with industry and sobriety as an example of their religion to the Aboriginals who they should endeavor to convert to Christ!

The next Governor, Lieutenant Colonel George Gawler was determined to establish South Australia as a colony based on Christian principles. By 1846 (10 years after Adelaide had been in existence) it is estimated that over half the population (of 9000) were attending church.

What a rich heritage.

Holy Trinity Adelaide is the first church and the oldest surviving church in Adelaide. Since 1838 the gospel has been preached so that those who hear could respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are testimony that that work continues. Praise God.

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